A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows someone you trust (your attorney) to made decisions on your behalf about your finances, property and your personal welfare should you become physically or mentally incapable of dealing with those affairs yourself.
Unlike a will, an LPA would only come into force during your lifetime and only if you were to lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. For example, this could be following a stroke or injury or from a dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer’s. Your attorney’s authority to act through an LPA will automatically cease when you die.
There are two types of LPA: one for property and financial affairs and one for health and personal welfare. For a Property and Financial Affairs LPA this means that your attorney could pay bills, access bank accounts, even sell your home. For a Health and Welfare LPA, this might include deciding where you live, making care arrangements or consenting to medical treatment.
An LPA can be drawn up at any time as long as the donor (the person appointing an attorney) has the mental capacity to understand the meaning and the effect of the LPA. As long as you are of sound mind and are over 18, you can appoint a person – or persons – you trust to look after your affairs if it becomes necessary. Once you’ve lost capacity, it’s too late.
Appointing and registering an LPA does not mean you automatically lose control. You can place restrictions or conditions on the LPA that prevent your attorney from making certain decisions. The LPA cannot be used until it has been registered by the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you lose capacity to make decisions and there is no LPA in place, a relative or friend could apply to the Court of Protection to be a deputy, or the Office of the Public Guardian would appoint someone to act on your behalf. This can be very involved and takes time, sometimes years, to arrange. In the meantime bills cannot be paid, financial and practical matters cannot be looked after and the process can be very expensive.
We have prepared a new booklet that answers commonly asked questions about appointing and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney. Please view or download our LPA booklet here.
If you would like to talk to an expert in confidence about putting an LPA in place, please get in touch. You’ll receive friendly, straightforward, professional advice with absolutely no pressure.
We also have a lot of experience in helping families apply for a deputyship order. If required, our founder Lyn Parkin can take on the role herself as she is approved by the Court of Protection to act as a professional deputy. To find out more about this service please give us a call to arrange an appointment or send us an email.